Energy Department to fund low-impact hydropower R&D

Friday, April 10, 2015

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced $7 million in funding for the research and development of advanced low-impact hydropower systems.  The Energy Department's competitive solicitation is designed to fund projects that help advance hydropower drivetrains -- the systems passing turbines' rotational energy along to their attached generators -- and structural foundations enabling low environmental impacts and reduced lifetime operating and maintaining costs.

The funding is available from the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.  This office, known as EERE, runs programs designed to speed up the development and deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies and market-based solutions.  hydropower manufacturing. 

This funding opportunity is designed to attract innovations that enable rapidly built, removable, and replaceable hydropower systems.  It solicits proposals to develop alternative hydropower systems with low civil infrastructure development costs, deployable within 2 years with relatively low environmental impacts, and which can be removed or replaced after their intended life is completed.  According to the funding opportunity announcement, these concepts and systems will be able to operate at a cost that is competitive with traditional sources of generation.

The complete funding opportunity announcement -- DE-FOA-0001286: RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OF INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES FOR LOW IMPACT HYDROPOWER DEVELOPMENT -- is available through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Funding Opportunity Exchange.

While this funding opportunity supports a wide variety of technological innovations for new hydropower development, specific areas of interest include:
  • New, rapidly deployable and removable hydropower technologies, such as innovative prefabricated structures, water impoundment structures, and water conveyance systems.
  • Innovative methods and materials for the construction of conventional hydropower facilities, including, but not limited to, concrete alternatives, in-water construction, and innovative advanced tunneling methods.
  • Design and lab testing of innovative conventional hydropower powertrain and generator components, such as advanced composite materials and replaceable blade technologies for turbine runners, new generator technologies, and materials and coatings for powertrain components.
The Energy Department will hold a webinar on this funding opportunity announcement on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 3:00 pm (ET).  Applicants must first submit a concept paper (currently due no later than 5:00 PM (ET) on May 7), with full applications currently due by 5:00 PM (ET) on June 15, 2015.

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